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Mesothelioma and Exposure to Toxic Substances at Work

Posted On: January 15, 2019

Mesothelioma and Exposure to Toxic Substances at Work 

Perhaps the most well-known example of a toxic substance-caused illness is Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. This cancer targets the mesothelium, the protective lining of tissue or cells around our vital organs. Symptoms include damage to the vital organs (especially lungs and heart), anemia, fever, weight and muscle loss. While Mesothelioma is dangerous cancer, it is relatively rare and requires direct inhalation of asbestos. 

However, in almost every workplace, there is some danger of exposure to toxic substances. These include: lead; asbestos; pesticides; car exhaust; paint; and cleaning solvents. Exposure to toxic fumes can cause damage to the eyes, skin and other surfaces; rashes; dizziness; headaches; nausea and vomiting; organ damage; etc. 

Employers are responsible for providing sufficient warning on any toxic substances in the workplace, and for providing protective equipment when necessary. Even if you and your employer have taken reasonable precautions, accidents and exposure may occur. 

If you believe you have been exposed to toxic substances at work, speak with your employer and doctor. If you have sustained injury or illness from toxic chemicals at work, you may file a claim and/or contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. 

Feel free to contact the law offices of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn for a free consultation on your possible claim.

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Finding a Healthcare Provider

Posted On: December 19, 2018

Finding a Healthcare Provider 

You can find a list of authorized healthcare providers on the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board website (wcb.ny.gov) or by calling (800) 781-2362. Your primary healthcare physician or other doctor may be authorized by the Board. In this case, you may receive treatment from them. 

If the insurer uses a set network of providers, known as a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), you are required to use authorized healthcare providers from within this network. If you are dissatisfied with your care after 30 days of treatment, you may use an authorized healthcare provider outside the PPO. 

Similarly, the insurer may use a facility network for diagnostic tests, in which case you would be required to use a provider in the network for any diagnostic tests. In the case of diagnostic network of PPO, the insurer must provide you with a notice of the requirements. 

Please note that in the case of a medical emergency, you may use any healthcare or diagnostic provider. In every situation, it is important to inform the medical professional that your injury or illness occurred at work. The providers will then know to forward any bills to the insurer, instead of to you. 

If you retain Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn, our attorneys can help you find an appropriate healthcare or diagnostic provider. 

Feel free to contact the law offices of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn for a free consultation on your possible claim.

[1] OSHA, Workplace Violence Prevention, https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy10/sh-20865-10/08_workplace_violence_2012.ppt

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Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Workers

Posted On: December 05, 2018

Volunteer Firefighters and Ambulance Workers  

New York State Workers’ Compensation law covers all New York State volunteer firefighters and most New York State volunteer ambulance workers. Volunteer ambulance companies that are not under contract with New York State or a political subdivision (county, city, town, etc) are not required to have workers’ compensation insurance, but may provide optional coverage. 

If you are a volunteer firefighter or volunteer ambulance worker who has been injured or become ill in the line of duty, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you are unsure if your circumstance would be considered “in the line of duty”, you may call any of our offices to set up a free consultation and be advised on your rights. 

Feel free to contact the law offices of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn for a free consultation on your possible claim.

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Workplace Violence

Posted On: November 21, 2018

Workplace Violence 

Employees may experience physical injury and/or psychological trauma due to workplace violence, such as assault. According to OSHA, approximately 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year.[1] Certain professions have a higher risk of workplace violence, including police and corrections officers, healthcare workers, social workers, taxi and delivery drivers, and late-night retail workers (e.g. gas station attendants). 

Workplace violence includes not only physical violence, but also the threat of physical violence, harassment or intimidation. 

Workplace violence is divided into 4 categories based on the relationship of the assailant to the victim:

  • Criminal intent: “violent acts by people who enter the workplace to commit robbery or other crime – or current or former employee who enters the workplace with the intent to commit a crime.”
  • Customer, client and patient: “violence directed at employees by customers, clients, patients, students, inmates or any others to whom the employer provides a service.”
  • Co-worker: “violence against co-workers, supervisors, or managers by a current or former employee, supervisor, or manager.”
  • Personal: “violence in the workplace by someone who does not work there, but who is known to, or has a personal relationships with, an employee.”[2]

 

Feel free to contact the law offices of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn for a free consultation on your possible claim. 

[1] https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/


[2] OSHA, Workplace Violence Prevention, https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy10/sh-20865-10/08_workplace_violence_2012.ppt

 

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Falls at Work

Posted On: November 07, 2018

Falls at Work 

Same-Level Falls are the second most common workers’ compensation claim in New York, according to Liberty Mutual’s 2017 Workplace Safety Index.[1] 

Examples of a same-level fall include: an employee falling on ice or another slippery surface such as a soapy floor, tripping on a computer wire, falling due to an uneven working surface, or being knocked to the floor by a piece of equipment. No matter how an employee sustained a fall, he/she is entitled to benefits as long as the incident occurred on the job. 

The fall can occur anywhere from an office to the sidewalk to a roof. These falls can result in concussion; fractures; broken bones; cuts, abrasions and bruises; shoulder, neck, head, back, knee, and internal organ injuries. 

Falls to a lower level are a leading cause of work-related injuries. These injuries can occur when a worker falls off scaffolding or a ladder, or down stairs. These falls can cause cuts, bruises, abrasions, sprains and broken bones, and concussions. Construction and maintenance workers are at particularly high risk for falls from heights.

[1] https://www.libertymutualgroup.com/about-liberty-mutual-site/news-site/Pages/2017-Liberty-Mutual-Workplace-Safety-Index.aspx

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Posted On: October 24, 2018

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome 

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is one of the most common workplace injuries, and leads to more lost time from work than any other workplace injury.[1] 

CTS is an example of a common repetitive stress injury. Examples of repetitive workplace tasks that can cause carpal tunnel include: typing, carrying trays, and cutting or pressing objects. These repetitive tasks can cause damage to the median nerve in the hand and wrist. Symptoms include pain in the hand and wrist, numbness, tingling, burning and swelling. 

It can sometimes be difficult to establish CTS as a workplace-caused injury because so many of our every day activities—from slicing vegetables for dinner, to playing tennis—can also cause CTS due to repetitive motion. The employee has the burden of proof for showing that the injury was caused by workplace injury or injuries and not by other non-work related actions.

CTS is an example of an injury due to “overexertion”. Other examples of overexertion include back pain due to lifting heavy objects repeatedly, muscle and joint pain, and disease or organ damage due to prolonged exposure to chemicals or toxic fumes. Along with CTS, these other forms of overexertion make up the majority of workers’ compensation claims in New York. 

Feel free to contact the law offices of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn for a free consultation on your possible claim.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2001/apr/wk1/art01.htm

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Mental Illness

Posted On: October 10, 2018

Mental Illness 

Severe trauma, bullying, threats, or unsafe work conditions can potentially lead to work-caused mental illness, such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These psychological illnesses can be just as debilitating as physical injuries. 

A mental illness claim for workers’ compensation is more complicated to establish than a physical injury. A causal link must be shown between the mental illness and the workplace. For example, a claimant must demonstrate that his/her anxiety was caused by workplace conditions and not personal circumstances. This means demonstrating that the work conditions in the claimant’s job were more anxiety-inducing than the conditions of an average job. However, just because a psychological condition does not emerge from a single precipitating incident does not mean a valid claim cannot be made. 

As with every workers’ compensation claim, consulting a lawyer is the best way to determine if a claim is viable. A workers’ compensation lawyer can explain the relevant laws related to mental illness and the workplace, and help file a claim. 

Feel free to contact the law offices of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn for a free consultation on your possible claim.

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Workers’ Compensation and Death

Posted On: September 26, 2018

Workers’ Compensation and Death 

Workers’ compensation pays survivor benefits to dependents in the unfortunate event of a work-related death. Dependents can include minor children and surviving spouses of the deceased. If there is no surviving spouse or children, other relatives of the deceased may be eligible to receive payments. The best way to ensure dependents receive the correct survivor benefits is by contacting a workers’ compensation attorney. 

Feel free to contact the law offices of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn for a free consultation on your possible claim.

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